I have mixed feelings about Santa Fe. On one hand, we had a fair bit of fun while we were there. On the other hand, it started off and ended up on the wrong foot! Santa Fe is an industrial type town, with shipping, factories, etc. Not your typical tourist destination. We simply chose to (attempt to) spend the night there to break up the long journey between Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires.
After about a 15 hour bus ride, we arrived at Santa Fe in the morning. Not getting the best sleep on the bus, Lydia and I wanted to check into a hotel right away to get some rest. Out of the bus terminal, we walked around and found several hotels, but most were either closed or full. We finally found one that was open and took a room right away (by this point, exhausted and desperately wanting some sleep). Problem was, after we were shown into our closet of a budget room, I closed the door and immediately shouted to Lydia, "Don't sit on the bed!!!!". Why? Because there was a used condom laying on the floor! Blagh!!!!!!!!
If I haven't mentioned this before, I'll mention this now. Most of South America has a custom where the adult males live with their parents pretty much forever. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to have sexy time with their "putas", when mom and dad are watching TV in the next room :S As a result, hotel/motels serve two purposes in South America. They cater to the tourists by allowing beds for the night, but they also cater to the locals, as a place for some nooky - sin parents! Anyway, this doesn't bother me too much, as long as they keep things squeaky clean. I cannot say this hotel passed the squeaky clean test. According to my books, a used condom on the floor is an automatic fail!
After spotting the soiled man balloon, I darted back to the front desk and literally dragged the manager into the room to scold him like a puppy that just had an accident (short of smacking him on the nose). We then (not so politely) asked for our money and bags back, as we decided that we weren't going to be staying the night there.
Now exhausted, with nowhere to stay, we had to figure out a game plan. We decided to go back to the bus terminal and try to make it to the next town, Parana, where we thought we might have better luck getting a place to stay. We got our bus tickets for later that day, and we managed to find some showers at the bus terminal to freshen up and catch a second wind so that we could have some fun in Santa Fe. As a result, after the showers, we sought the most appealing thing that Santa Fe had to offer...
BEER!!!! What better way to spend a day with 24+ hour insomia delusions than to take in a brewery tour? We hit up the Schneider Brewery (Argentina's 3rd largest beer producer) for a really fun tour.
We toured around the factory to see the beer being produced.
Learned about the history of Schneider beer.
... and drank a lot of beer! I've been on a lot of brewery tours in my day and this one had one thing that separated it from other tours I've done...
Beer goodie bags!!!!! After taking the free tour and drinking the free beer, they actually hand each person a bag full of freaking beer to take home! How cool is that!?! I think there were like 4 beer per bag!
With a bit of a buzz on, we then went to appropriately watch The Hangover 2 in the local theatre. Then, in the evening we caught the bus to Parana (now up around 40 hours) to try to find a free hotel. Problem was, we had the same luck in Parana as we did in Santa Fe (minus the condom experience). After like 2 hours of walking around, we still couldn't find anywhere to sleep (a first on our trip)! Now we were getting full on crazy for being up 2 days in a row and made the judgement call to just keep on keeping on to Buenos Aires (about a 7 hour bus ride from Parana). By the time we got into Buenos Aires and navigated the massive city to find a local hostel, we were approaching around 50-60 hours of being awake. That first sleep in Buenos Aires was one of the best in my life!!!